Manicure Monday: Uptown Rocker

Hi there!  This week’s Manicure Monday is a modern and edgy take on a classic.  It’s been awhile since the last Manicure Monday.  I did do my nails while I was on vacation in the Bahamas last week, but I didn’t have my computer with me so no post, sorry (it was tropical, with yellow and pink)!

Today I have for you an updated French Manicure with extra metallic glam.  I made black French tips using Covergirl Black Diamond, a gold lame French tip and accent nail with Julep Zelda, and a second accent nail with crushed gold flakes with Julep Gianna, finished off with two coats of glossy topcoat for shine and strength.

MUCH LUXE SO DANGER
MUCH LUXE SO DANGER

BOTTOM: Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

COLORS: Covergirl Black Diamond (black), Julep Gianna (gold flakes), Julep Zelda (gold lame)

TOP: Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat

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My First Memebox Order!

Thanks to Beeju‘s great reviews, I finally decided to go for my very first Memebox!  Memebox is a one-time skincare and makeup box focusing on Korean brands.  They have a huge variety of boxes, some targeting a certain concern (e.g. oily skin), some with a theme (coffee), and some that are ‘best of ____’ sets.  To check out all of their available boxes (some sell out really quickly) click here to go to their website (but first, scroll down this page for discount codes!).

I opted for a two box combo, the Scrub Box + Tea Cosmetics.  Of course, exfoliating is an essential step to glowing skin, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE tea, so these look like they’re going to be the perfect boxes for me.

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Together these boxes cost USD $52.00 + $6.99 for shipping.  I can’t wait to share my unboxing with you when they arrive!

To get a discount on your Memebox, click here and use code:

AFFILIATE-8507-16WKW-QBRS for $5 off $100

AFFILIATE-8625-BUHXP-EDWV for $10 off $150

 

Samples Showdown: The Face Shop

Today’s Samples Showdown is a seedy one – not because things look sketchy, but because all of the samples are from The Face Shop’s Seed In Seed line (sorry, I can’t resist a pun!).  I got these samples from my recent The Face Shop Haul, which is great because all three products are ones that I haven’t heard of or tried before.

CHIA SEED FRESH CLEANSING FOAM

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I was pleasantly surprised by how fine this cleanser was, but it doesn’t foam much despite its name. My face felt squeaky clean afterwards, but I’m skeptical about the deep pore cleansing as advertised on the package since I could still see foundation residue on my nose.

THE VERDICT: Skip it.

CORE SEED PURIFYING ESSENCE

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This is advertised as being a great base for The Face Shop’s Seed In Seed moisturizers (on the back, it recommends combining it with different moisturizers depending on your skin needs).  I’m sure that’s true, but from my short term use I can’t really tell.

THE VERDICT: Requires further testing, but I don’t feel motivated to buy the full size to do so.

CALMING SEED SKIN RESTING CREAM

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My favourite of today’s three samples – it is a gel cream that is light and retains moisture well.  This kind of texture is exactly the kind of moisturizer that I love for my combination skin.  Plus, it smells soooo good, in an herbal spa sort of way.

THE VERDICT: Baby buy buy buy (better than the N’Sync song)

That’s it for today’s Sample Showdown!

Jet Set Beauty

I just got back from a family vacation to beautiful Bahamas, and I wanted to share something interesting I bumped into during my travels!  In New York city’s JFK airport and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, there are some very cute boutique/kiosk/vending machines selling beauty products!

I especially love the suitcases stacked on top!!
I especially love the suitcases stacked on top!!

On my way to the Bahamas at the Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, I stopped in my tracks as something very pink and very bright caught my eye.  It was the Benefit ‘van,’ full of their awesome products and adorned with their signature sassy style.  Other than their regular line of products, they were also selling special travel kits – I saw a quad of mini lip glosses, and a small skincare essentials set.

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When I got home to New York City, I bumped into yet another Benefit van, but JFK also has an Essie boutique!  Now, you know I’m a nail polish junkie, and definitely an Essie girl (ok so most of my polishes are Julep, but I still love Essie’s colors the best!), so this was a little slice of beauty heaven.  Unfortunately, this machine doesn’t have their full stock of colors (nor does it sell any of their top/bottom coats, only the cuticle oil and the all-purpose coat),  but it does give you a free polish when you buy 4.

Have you ever encountered these beauty boutiques before?  What other ones are out there?

The Face Shop Haul

Have you guys heard of the Korean skin and beauty company, The Face Shop?  In many parts of Asia, they’re a popular brand, and I’ve even heard them referred to as “the Starbucks of makeup.”  I’ve picked up some of their products here and there a few years ago when I was in Taiwan, and today I stopped by their New York city Chinatown location.

Colorful masks from The Face Shop! I'm guessing they are somewhat color grouped to indicate what skin type they are for (since the store also sells them in bundles, e.g. all the green masks together with a recommendation for oily skin).
Colorful masks from The Face Shop! I’m guessing they are somewhat color grouped to indicate what skin type they are for (since the store also sells them in bundles, e.g. all the green masks together with a recommendation for oily skin).

The Face Shop’s Chinatown location on Elizabeth Street is a little bit bigger than the Koreatown location on 32nd Street, and from my personal experience, the sales ladies tend to be a bit friendlier too.  Today I picked up 11 sheet style face masks (cashing in on their buy 10 get 1 free deal of course!).  Each has a unique star ingredient that targets different skin concerns.  The one I’m going to try right away is the mung bean mask (also known as green bean) because lately I have been benefitting from the great detoxifying properties from eating mung beans, and I want to let them work their magic from both inside and out.

Have you tried The Face Shop’s sheet masks?  What are some of your favorite The Face Shop products?  Let me know!

UPDATE: I was browsing The Face Shop’s website and found this interactive guide to their face masks based on your skin needs. Click Mask Sheet Chart to check it out!

Samples Showdown: Marc Jacobs and Benefit

Today I’m bringing two deluxe samples into the showdown, and I’ll tell you which you should buy and which to say buh-bye to.

MARC JACOBS LIP LOCK MOISTURE BALM WITH SPF IN 10 MAKEOUT

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Yes, even a clear lip balm gets a color code and name.
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You can count on Marc Jacobs for luxe packaging

I got this as part of a Sephora VIB exclusive lip-focused goodie bag.   I’m always looking for the next big miracle worker in lip balms/treatments because I have incredibly dry lips, and I looove products with SPF, so I had my eye on this before… but the price point is high, because Marc Jacobs.  This unfortunately, isn’t anything to go crazy for.

THE VERDICT: Don’t expect the inside product to match the outside luxe; though it wins points for having SPF (your lips need protection too!), it loses huge points for being so expensive yet blah.

BENEFIT THEY’RE REAL! PUSH-UP LINER

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The applicator is a slanted tip made out of flexible rubber, and the product comes out by clicking it up through the dispenser.
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Benefit comes up with the cutest names.

I’m sure you’ve allll heard the hype surrounding this new innovation in makeup technology – gel liner, in a pen form?? Oh my!  I love just about everything about it; the name (sassy!), the brand (Benefit is awesome!), the packaging (sturdy yet easy on the eyes), except… yeah.  The product itself is good, but doesn’t blow me away.  The gel formula is really long-wearing, to the point where it’s a little overkill.  I think I used half a bottle of makeup remover getting this stuff off!  The slanted tip is going to give you a nice application, but not as nice as a brush dipped in a gel pot or a liquid liner pen.

THE VERDICT: Girls, don’t throw away your liquid and pencil liners yet – this liner is worth buying but probably won’t replace your current favourite.

Up All Night: Makeup by One Direction from The Looks Collection

Calling all One Direction fans: this sneak peek review is for you!  I received one of three exclusive makeup sets from The Looks Collection by One Direction, thanks to Brandbacker and cosmetics company Markwins.  I got “Up All Night,” a fun cobalt and pink centered set.  If you’re curious about the other limited edition tins from The Looks Collection, be sure to see my overview of the collection.

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Each set from The Look Collection includes a 5 color eyeshadow palette, mascara, a chubby pencil, lipstick, lip gloss, and nail polish.

First, let’s look at the collectible tin the products are housed in!  The picture of the band is on a transparent plastic sleeve, and after you slip it off, you get a grunge-chic black and white brick design.

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The tin was bigger than I expected, which was great as I love using tin boxes to store memorabilia and trinkets.

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Nestled inside the tin are 7 products.  A great feature is the inside of the lid, which gives you suggestions on fun ways to use the set.

The first thing I picked up was the 5 Color Eyeshadow Palette.

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Eyeshadows in an edgy case.
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Each color in the palette has a cute name.

‘More Than This’ is a soft coral cream, which is great as a base and for highlighting the inner corners and brow bone.  ‘Save You Tonight’ is an icy turquoise which would work on its own for fresh eyes (for a modern look, follow the lash line and don’t wing out or touch the crease) or to illuminate the ball of the lid.  ‘Gotta Be You’ is a taupe with a light shimmer, and would be best used in the crease and outer V of the eyes.  ‘Another World’ is a royal blue shimmer, and I think it looks very chic as part of an updated smokey eye.  The last color is ‘Up All Night,’ what the box sleeve describes as “sapphire glitter creme” but it’s really a lot of glitter without much creamyness.

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From left to right: ‘Up All Night,’ ‘Another World,’ ‘Save You Tonight,’Gotta Be You,’ and ‘More Than This.’
The staying power and saturation of these eyeshadows are just average, although the colors are vibrant.  You will definitely need to use some primer or setting spray with these eyeshadows; since every color has a shimmer/glitter element, there is some fallout.  All the colors in this palette would work well with ‘Stand Up,’ a dark denim eye and body chubby crayon.  I really like the color of ‘Stand Up,’ as this kind of blue brightens the whites of your eyes and is a great alternative to black or brown liner.
 
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The greatest downfall of the palette’s packaging, IMO, is that there is no built in mirror, and the ‘brush’ end of the included applicator sucks at picking up pigment – I would much rather prefer to have 2 sponge ends.
 
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Would be great for the fall and winter, or as an accent color year round.
The next product is ‘Na Na Na’, an aqua blue metallic chrome nail varnish.  To me, this polish is way more green with blue shadows and is not aqua blue as described.  It is a very high shine metallic, and while it applies smoothly, is strangely thin.  It took me 5 coats to reach opacity, and since it’s not colored glitter in a clear base, it’s not really suitable as a glitter coat on another color.  Hm.  On the plus side, it’s easy to remove.

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The ‘Little Black Dress’ volumizing black mascara is not so much volumizing as it is lengthening.  I do like its dense applicator brush and smooth formula, which managed to hold onto my stick straight lashes and keep them in place.

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‘Taken’ Liquilights Glow Gloss was my absolute favourite product of the bunch! It has a great flat round edge applicator and the formula is smooth and feels good on the lips.  The color reminds me of one of my favourite glosses of all time, Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Passionfruit.  I love ‘Taken’ so much, I threw it in my purse right away!
 
The box sleeve says that this “powerhouse glitter pink lip gloss” has a secret feature: it “glows to neon orange under UV light”!  After reading that I was thinking, “Where and when would I ever be in a place with UV light?”  And lo and behold, that very day, I found myself in a glow-in-the-dark blacklight-only store on Jersey Shore.  Lucky!
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As you an see, ‘Taken’ does glow orange… sort of.
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On the left is ‘Taken’ lip gloss and on the right is ‘I Should Have Kissed You’ lipstick.
The other lip product in the tin is ‘I Should Have Kissed You’ a bubblegum pink creme lipstick.  This lipstick feels more matte to me, and while the color is fun, I don’t really think it suits me.
 
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Finally, the last ‘product’ is the One Direction Stencil Kit.  You could use these 5 cards as stencils to decorate yourself a la temporary tattoos, or use with some sharpies to personalize your tin.
 
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I hope you had as much fun reading about The Looks Collection as I have had playing around with the products!  These three limited edition tins are not for sale quite yet, but when they are, but sure to pick up your favourite set!
 
US RELEASE DATES:

Macy’s – August 11th
Stage Stores – August 25th
Dillards – August 25th
Beauty Brands – August 25th
Lord and Taylor – August 25th

You can visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MakeupbyOneDirection to get all the latest details!

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